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(Sunday, October 17th)
Final Score: San Francisco 17, Oakland 9
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Alex Smith overcame a sluggish start to throw for 196 yards and two second-half touchdowns to guide San Francisco to a 17-9 come-from-behind win over Oakland at Candlestick Park.
Smith connected on 16-of-33 passes, including scoring tosses to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis as the 49ers (1-5) won for the first time this season to avoid their first 0-6 start since 1979.
"Satisfied and relieved we finally got the first one," Smith said about the victory. "This team's been working so hard, pressing and pressing and pressing only to lose. We've had three really close games and we've done a lot of things to really hurt ourselves. Today to come out and play the way we did, staying patient looking 0-5 in the face, it was a great feeling."
Frank Gore carried 25 times for 149 yards while Crabtree made four catches for 57 yards to help San Francisco even the all-time series at six apiece.
Jason Campbell, filling in for the injured Bruce Gradkowski, struggled in his first start since Week 2, completing just 8-of-21 passes for 83 yards for the Raiders (2-4), who haven't finished .500 or better through the season's first six games since going 4-2 in 2002.
Oakland took the opening kickoff and moved 79 yards on 13 plays but the march stalled at the nine-yard line after two Campbell incompletions. The visitors settled for Sebastian Janikowski's 27-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
On the first play of the second quarter, Louis Murphy raced down the right sideline for 43 yards on a reverse that put the ball at the Niners' 12. San Francisco's defense held, and Janikowski hit a 24-yarder to make it 6-0 with 12:40 left before the break.
The Niners finally got on the board with eight ticks left in the half on Joe Nedney's 25-yard field goal that finished off a 10-play, 77-yard drive. The key plays on the march were a 19-yard swing pass to Brian Westbrook on 2nd- and-5 from the home team's 21, and a 35-yard catch and run by Josh Morgan to the Raiders 13 on a first down just across midfield.
San Francisco took a 10-6 lead on the final play of the third quarter on Smith's 32-yard TD pass down the middle to a leaping Crabtree in the end zone. It came one play after Smith was whistled for intentional grounding and capped off a 13-play, 91-yard drive that took 8:11 off the clock.
After each team went three-and-out, the Raiders took over at their own 23 with 11:14 to play in the game.
Zach Miller made a 22-yard grab and then caught a deflected throw on the next play for 26 more to move the Raiders to the San Francisco 27. However, the set was stymied at the 25 leading to Janikowski's 42-yard boot that trimmed the lead to one with 8:21 remaining in the game.
"The game really comes down to opportunities and we had a ton of opportunity offensively to score that we did not take advantage of," said Oakland head coach Tom Cable. "We were not good in the red zone and let them hang around. It is very disappointing. Too many opportunities to win the game and we just did not get it done."
Gore snuck through a hole on the right side on the first play of the Niners' next possession and raced 64 yards down to the Raiders 16. Anthony Dixon's TD dash on the next play was negated by a holding penalty but the hosts responded on the very next down. From the 17, Smith rolled to his right and threw back across the field to Davis, who caught the ball at the 10 and rumbled into the left corner of the end zone to push the Niners lead to 17-9 just 67 seconds later.
Again, the teams traded punts and the Raiders regained possession at their 13 with 3:14 to go in a possible last-ditch effort to tie the game. However, Campbell was intercepted on third down by a diving Takeo Spikes, who was downed at the Oakland 19 with 2:39 still to play.
Gore carried three straight times to grind out a first down and take the clock to the two-minute warning. Smith kneeled down three times to run out the remaining time and sew up the victory.
Smith's TD pass to Crabtree was the 49ers' first outside the red zone this season...Davis made four grabs for 35 yards...He has six TD catches in his last six games against AFC foes...Morgan caught three balls for 49 yards. Michael Bush, replacing the injured Darren McFadden for a second straight week, ran 20 times for 47 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards...Campbell threw for 28 yards in the first quarter, zero through the second and third quarters and 55 in the final stanza...Miller is four catches shy of becoming the fourth Oakland tight end with 200 receptions...San Francisco has won three in a row and four of the last five meetings since 1994.
10/17 21:01:27 ET
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